The Boys Volume 4: We Gotta Go Now: written by Garth Ennis; illustrated by Darick Robertson (2008-2009; collected 2009): Black Ops group The Boys delve into the secret history of the G-Men, superhero-corporation Vought American’s (very) thinly veiled version of the X-Men and all their X-books, X-teams, and X-merchandising. As superhero groups in the world of The Boys go, the G-Men may be the most awful of all when their secret origins are revealed. But how will The Boys fight several hundred angry, crazy superheroes with a bewilderingly wide array of superpowers? Excellent question. Recommended.
The Boys Volume 5: Herogasm: written by Garth Ennis; illustrated by Darick Robertson and John McCrea (2009; collected 2009): Corporate-owned superheroes. Just like the comic books themselves! CIA-affiliated Black Ops group The Boys continue their investigation of superhero corporation Vought American and the legion of super-heroes created, controlled, and owned by them as the heroes of the world have their annual team-up against a force too powerful for them to combat singly or in small groups. It’s a crisis and a not-so-secret war!
Well, no. In reality, the heroes and some villains annually go to a tropical island where they debauch themselves for a week on the company dime: the company-wide team-up is all about sex and drugs, not saving the world. The greatest threat to the world is the superheroes themselves and the corporation that controls them. The Boys do learn a lot more about both the secret history of recent events and what the World’s Greatest Hero, the Homelander, is really up to. None of it is pretty. Recommended.
The Boys Volume 8: Highland Laddie: written by Garth Ennis; illustrated by Darick Robertson and John McCrea (2010-2011; collected 2011): Depressed by recent personal events and by his work with The Boys, Scottish team-member Hughie (he whom artist Darick Robertson originally drew to look pretty much exactly like Simon Pegg) returns home to the north of Scotland for some soul-searching. Almost certainly the most Scottish superhero miniseries ever written. Recommended.
The Boys Volume 9: The Big Ride: written by Garth Ennis; illustrated by Darick Robertson and Russ Braun (2011; collected 2011): As things gradually move towards a series-ending climax (still three volumes to go, though), we learn terrible secrets about the first go-round for The Boys in their battle against Vought American and its corporate superheroes. We also learn about the first appearance of said superheroes during World War Two and the subsequent history of both the superheroes and the CIA’s attempts to find out what Vought American is up to. We also learn even more about the insane sex lives of superheroes. And one of The Boys will not make it out of this volume alive! Recommended.
Justice League Volume 2: The Villain’s Journey: written by Geoff Johns; illustrated by Jim Lee, Gene Ha, Gary Frank, and Ivan Reis (2012): The new Justice League battles a couple of new menaces, refuses Green Arrow’s request to join the team, and ponders its role in today’s fast-paced, modern society. The new Shazam’s interminably long origin story also begins. People yell at Batman. And Superman and Wonder Woman kiss.
Jim Lee’s new costume designs for DC’s major heroes really are fussy and distracting. Superman needs his red shorts back. And everyone needs to stop wearing armor like the Avengers all did in that terrible 1990’s Avengers cartoon that didn’t feature any of the major Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor). Most of the heroes here are pissy almost all the time, which in today’s superhero comics is what substitutes for camaraderie and characterization. Lightly recommended.